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US, partners strike Syria

September 23, 2014

The United States military and its partner nations have begun launching airstrikes inside Syria, according to the Pentagon. The operation is targeting fighters from the militant group "Islamic State."

F/A-18 Super Hornet US-Kampfjet USA Irak Islamischer Staat Symbolbild Angriff
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

Airstrikes involving a mix of fighters, bombers and Tomahawk missiles began on Tuesday, the Pentagon said.

"I can confirm that US military and partner nation forces are undertaking military action against ISIL (Islamic State group) terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles," spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.

The decision to move ahead with the airstrikes was made earlier on Monday by the head of US Central Command, General Lloyd Austin, "under authorization granted to him by the commander in chief," Kirby said.

"Given that these operations are ongoing, we are not in a position to provide additional details at this time," he added.

US media, citing an American defense official, reported that Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates took part in the strikes.

Campaign against IS

The airstrikes inside Syria are part of the US government's plan, authorized by President Barack Obama, to degrade and destroy IS militants who control vast swathes of territory stretching from Syria to northern and western Iraq.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said that plan "includes targeted actions against ISIL safe havens in Syria, including its command and control logistics capabilities and infrastructure."

Obama had said in a September 10 speech that the US was prepared to attack IS within Syria.

"I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are," Obama said.

US airstrikes against IS fighters in Iraq began on August 8.

dr/lw (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)